Is It Apathy Or Satisfaction In Berlin?

Thanks to the filing deadline passing on Monday, Berlin Council members Dean Burrell, Paula Lynch and Troy Purnell were re-elected this week.

Whenever an elected official faces no opposition in a re-election bid, it raises the question: is it voter apathy or satisfaction?

The question was raised earlier this summer when County Commissioner Bud Church was unopposed and has been a reoccurring theme in recent years in Ocean City as Mayor Rick Meehan has never been opposed for his seat as the town’s chief spokesman.

In the case of Berlin, it’s more than likely a little bit of both. There’s not many controversial goings on in Berlin presently and the feelings among most in the town is a general level of contentment for how the Mayor and Council is running the town.

Most would say stability has been returned to Berlin government since Mayor Gee Williams took over, and town management seems solid with respected figureheads hired to lead the departments that previously had vacancies.

Sure, not all Berliners are pleased with certain matters, particularly the recent property purchase off Route 113 for a future police station and community center, chronic flooding issues and embarrassing road conditions in some parts of town, but there’s not a lot of reason to rock the boat in Berlin at this time when it comes to elected officials.

While it may be quiet on the election front for the next several weeks, all eyes will be following how Mayor Williams fares in November’s election. If Williams stakes one of the two available district seats in the House of Delegates, he will need to resign as mayor, leaving the need for a special election to fill the mayor’s seat.

In all likelihood, a current member of the council will step up to run for mayor, as indications are at least one official is preparing to make a go at the mayor’s seat if Williams wins in November. If that’s the case, another special election would have to be held to fill that seat.

In the meantime, Burrell, Lynch and Purnell can rest easy heading into another term, all the while wondering if they were unopposed because people don’t care about politics in town or if it’s a reflection of how well they are representing the people.

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.